Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OUI) Boston MA

Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol (OUI) also known as DUI/DWI

In Massachusetts it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or above or when your ability to operate a motor vehicle has been impaired by the consumption of alcohol. This crime consists of three basic elements:

  1. Operating a Motor Vehicle (Most people assume this means driving, but in MA this can also be the simple act of starting a car to turn the heat or AC on while you are parked)
  2. On a Public Way (Most people assume this means on a street/road, but not all streets are public ways, and not all “private properties” are really “private”
  3. With a BAC of .08% or over or your ability to operate a motor vehicle has been impaired by the consumption of alcohol (Most people assume this means that you have to be “drunk,” but many experienced drinkers could have a BAC over .08% and not feel “drunk” and one person’s definition of “impairment” can be quite different from another’s)
  4. In addition to the elements above, the Commonwealth may have additional things it needs to prove if the allegations are of an aggravated form of OUI/DUI (causing death or serious bodily injury for example) or if it alleged you have previously been convicted of OUI /DUI or assigned to an alcohol education program at any point in your lifetime

In order to really understand if the Commonwealth can prove all three of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt (which is their burden) you need an experienced criminal trial lawyer to evaluate your case. An average person reads the police report in their own case and is horrified at how bad the “facts” seem. This is the wrong way to evaluate your case. The reality is that the police report is not evidence, and it should be viewed as the Commonwealth’s “best possible case.” When a police officer sits down to write an OUI/DUI report he/she is not challenged in any way, he/she is the beneficiary of lots of training on how to write a report that will meet the probable cause standard (in order for the case to begin), and he/she is working off of their own memory and perhaps the memory of a fellow officer (both of which are imperfect).

Some OUI/DUI cases involve a motor vehicle crash, field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer exam, incriminating statements, alcohol containers (open or closed) in the car, or some combination thereof. NONE of these pieces of evidence guarantee that the Commonwealth can secure a guilty verdict. To the contrary every piece of evidence that looks negative may also have a positive spin if appropriately presented. For example, a motor vehicle crash (especially where an airbag deploys) could easily make someone slur their words, appear unsteady on their feet, or cause them to fail the field sobriety tests. Furthermore, when dealing with a subsequent OUI/DUI allegation the Commonwealth needs to present admissible evidence of the prior offenses, which is not always easily done, particularly if the prior offenses are older in time or from other states.

How Melanie’s Law Could Impact Your OUI/DUI Case

Based on the legislation created by Melanie’s Law in 2005 the crime of OUI/DUI is a serious matter that is prosecuted zealously and has consequences beyond just a criminal record. First, you will have to deal with the loss of your license if charged with a first offense for either 30 days (if you take the breathalyzer and register over a .08%) or for 180 days (if you refuse, or the police allege you refused, the breathalyzer). If you are charged with a subsequent OUI/DUI the administrative suspensions for a refusal to take the breathalyzer exam can go as high as 3yrs, 5yrs, or even LIFE! This administrative suspension by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) does not permit for a hardship or “Cinderella” license, so this is a real logistical challenge for someone charged with an OUI/DUI. For many people the loss of their license can also mean the loss of their ability to work, to take care of their family, or to generally get anywhere they need to go. There are 2 ways to cut these suspensions short, which include: appealing the suspension to an RMV Hearings Officer or to the District Court if denied by the RMV and by resolving the case prior to the expiration of the suspension. Other than those options, you are stuck with the administrative suspension. While this is not ideal, particularly the longer the suspension, you can take solace in the fact that the lack of breathalyzer evidence is often a big factor in the ultimate outcome of the case. Many jurors find the breathalyzer exam (despite its inherent flaws) to be the most persuasive piece of evidence presented at a criminal trial. The lack of such evidence cannot be used against you in Massachusetts to imply guilt, so the fact that you did not take the breathalyzer cannot be used against you to show that you “must have been drunk, otherwise you would have taken the exam.”

Trust Rahkin Law OUI/DUI Case Representation Experience

If you choose to allow me to take your OUI/DUI case to trial you can be sure that I will spend as much time as is necessary to prepare the most thoughtful and effective DUI/OUI defense possible. This will include thorough and detailed cross examination of the police officers, which is often the most critical part of any OUI/DUI case. Further I will prepare any witnesses we may wish to present and you (if appropriate) for testimony, so that the jury gets the benefit of hearing all of the important and relevant evidence available. Once all of the evidence (both testimonial and physical) has been presented, I will use all of the skills I have learned in my career as a trial lawyer to make a compelling and convincing closing argument to the jury to secure the best possible verdict.

However, despite the best possible efforts of any lawyer, some cases to result in guilty verdicts. When interviewing a potential lawyer, if they tell you they have “never lost a case” that can only because they just got their license yesterday, they have never had the guts to take a case to trial, or they are flat out lying. In any of these situations you should run, not walk, the other way. It is important to understand the potential penalties for a conviction of a first offense OUI/DUI before taking your case to trial, and the various penalties for each level of OUI/DUI can be found here:


In addition to any jail/state prison sentence imposed based on a conviction or plea, you will also have the onerous burden of dealing with loss of license, fines/fees, and alcohol treatment program responsibilities. It can be a very daunting challenge to navigate all of these consequences, and that’s why you need to have a dedicated and intelligent trial lawyer at your side to protect you from these penalties.

Another thing to understand is that just because you are charged with one level of OUI/DUI today, it does not necessarily mean the charges will stay that way. I have been involved in cases where the Commonwealth has sought to amend the charges both up and down in level depending on the particular circumstances of the case, and what information they learn either before or after the arraignment is held. Furthermore, there are other charges which are commonly associated with OUI/DUI prosecutions such as: child endangerment, negligent operation, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, etc which also require the seasoned eye of an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney to evaluate as to whether or not the Commonwealth can meet their burden of proof.

Finally, there are attorneys out there who bill themselves as OUI/DUI specialists who only defend those type of cases. And for some people those attorneys may be the right choice, if they want someone to process their case similarly to a paint by numbers kit. I on the other hand have handled a variety of criminal cases, ranging from OUI/DUI to murder cases, giving me the perspective and creativity needed to formulate a defense specific to your circumstances and facts, and not just use a one size fits all approach. If you choose me to represent you in your OUI/DUI case you can rest assured that all of my skills as a trial attorney will be brought to bear in an effort to get you the best possible result.

Call Boston DUI Attorney Rakhlin for a FREE consultation regarding your upcoming OUI Alcohol or Drugs case: (617) 564-0466